The Open Doors Fellowship Program (ODFP) is now open for women researchers in Africa, a holistic program that shall target women researchers in Africa to help them acquire the necessary hard and soft skills to strengthen their placements within their hosting institutions and, ultimately, avoid dropping out before their consolidation stage.
The VIB-IPBO is committed to supporting women scientists in African research institutions and universities. They are working hard to ensure that through their hard work, outreach efforts, and fruitful partnerships with several African organizations and Belgian institutions, the Open Doors program shall grow, expand and contribute to the empowerment of many more women scientists in Africa.
The ODFP targets post-doctoral and mid-career women researchers conducting agricultural research in African (inter)national research centres.The program aims to contribute to the consolidation of mid-career researchers and avoid them leaking from the scientific pipeline. Therefore, through its unique conceptualization and implementation, the program is tailored to their participants’ training needs to provide a fulfilling, nurturing and empowering learning experience.
- Build up the hard and soft skills of their fellows to consolidate knowledge, open new paths of research and navigate their careers with more confidence.
- Expand and consolidate the Belgium-Africa scientific networks.
- Enhance the scientific outputs of their fellows in fields of research that are relevant to the African agro-biotechnology and agricultural sectors.
- Contribute to reducing the dropout from early & mid-career women scientists in African research and academic institutions.
- Two-Phase Curriculum that includes a research stage in Belgium.
- The program is structured in two phases. In Phase 1 (1-4 months), their fellows expand their research horizons and scientific network in Belgium through a fully-funded short research stage of three months. This stage occurs in a laboratory where fellows can use equipment not accessible in Africa and learn new techniques and skills relevant to fast-track their research.
- Yet, their program pursues to actively connect the Belgian laboratories with the existing African research to generate long-term and mutual learning for enriching collaborations. To this end, the continuous North-South and South-South collaborations between the labs are fostered after this phase through diverse projects managed by IPBO.
- Fellows chose what to learn and when Text
- While in Belgium, the fellows receive courses on cross-cultural communication, public presentation skills, and how to submit competitive project proposals under the EU Horizon funding scheme, together with their Belgian counterparts.
- In Phase 2, upon returning to Africa, their fellows can tailor their training curriculum over16 months by accessing six courses from the VIB training online portfolio on soft, hard skills and coaching courses during this period. Beyond these, the training package includes Negotiation Skills, Project Management and Self-Leadership modules to help their beneficiaries navigate their careers more confidently.
- Fellows receive financial incentives to enhance their scientific visibility.
- The program supports their fellows’ scientific and public visibility because if research outputs are not visible, their fellows aren’t either. To this end, participants receive training on scientific communication and financial incentives to attend congresses and open-access publication fees.
- Applicants have to be women researchers fulfilling all the following criteria:
- Applicants are post-doc female scholars (minimum one year after defending their PhD) or in mid-career positions who experience challenges to progress in their career path due to limited access to training, infrastructure and international networks. There are no age limits.
- Scholarship candidates should be national and resident in one of the VLIR- UOS scholarship countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania or Uganda); or employee of a target organization in one of these countries (candidates exceptionally can have a different nationality). Candidates from Nigeria will also be supported despite not being VLIR-UOS scholarship countries through their program.
- Applicants’ research fields must be plant breeding, agrobiotechnology, molecular biology and genetics, microbiology, chemical ecology, plant & soil health, livestock or aquaculture.
- Applicants must have an active employment contract in a High Education institution or an (inter)national research centre in any of the countries for the duration of the fellowship (20 months), where they conduct research and teach.
- Applicants are supervising MSc or PhD students and supporting staff.
For more information, visit https://ipbo.vib-ugent.be/en